The Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research at North Carolina State has awarded Jennifer A. Freedman, a graduate student at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, a 2020 Postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) Research Fellowship for her excellence in research. Freeman is one of 18 fellows chosen nationwide. As a fellow, she will participate in two national training institutes and research methods webinars, work with CTE research mentors, and conduct postsecondary CTE research.
Her project will explore an under-researched, non-traditional pathway to the pursuit of and persistence in STEM majors for students with learning disabilities (SWLDs). Using national data, the project will explore applied STEM courses—which are found within the career and technical education (CTE) taxonomy—that SWLDs take in high school and the extent to which taking these courses might help promote advancement towards postsecondary success in STEM.
The Postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) Research Fellowships are sponsored by the ECMC Foundation, a national foundation working to improve postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis, which together work to help students succeed. The Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to fund both nonprofit and for-profit ventures.
Jennifer Freeman is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Education at the Gevirtz School specializing in policy and research methods. Her research sponsor is Dr. Michael Gottfried. Freeman’s research interests lie in educational policies that promote college and career readiness for underrepresented populations in STEM, particularly students with learning disabilities and community college transfer students. She is a research associate for a student support program at UCSB designed to help improve persistence in STEM fields for first-generation and other underrepresented students. Freeman is also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and is investigating the effects of undergraduate research participation on STEM degree attainment and entrance to STEM fields for community college transfer students. Her work has been presented at conferences of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP), and University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). Freeman was a community college transfer student from Santa Barbara City College and holds a B.S. in Zoology from UCSB.